Man Anonymously Buys Couple Dinner & What Happens Next Is Unbelievable

Inspiring 128

champagne toastWhen it comes to memorable meals, this one is difficult to beat. It all began when a young couple was out for dinner in Boston about three years ago. They were young, in love, and it showed.

According to Richard Branson, who tells the tale on his blog at, a generous man by the name of Pankaj Shah was dining there as well. He had the wonderful habit of anonymously paying for people's meals when he was dining out. On that particular night, he asked restaurant staff to find "the couple who looked most in love."

They did, and Shah went on about his way, probably never giving them too much more thought beyond hopes that they enjoyed the meal. But when he returned to Boston three years later, something really amazing happened.

He went back to the restaurant to eat, and the manager came up and told him that the same couple he had paid for three years ago was there again, right then. What a coincidence, right?!

The manager said he knew it was them because the "dude just got down on one knee and proposed." When he asked them why they'd chosen that particular restaurant, he said:

The guy said they were sitting at that same table three years ago and some stranger paid for their meal and made them think about kindness and love and they’ve been talking about it ever since. They’ve incorporated it into their lives and said there was no other place he could have proposed, it was their most impactful memory.

Do you have goosebumps? I sure do. While the couple has remained anonymous themselves so far, according to Branson, they did invite Shah to their wedding.

I love this story for so many reasons. First, just the fact that they were there enjoying a meal with no expectations of anything but paying their bill when all of a sudden a kind stranger swoops in and makes it amazing. Regardless of your financial situation, that has to be such an amazing, unexpected treat. There aren't many true (good) surprises in life once you're an adult, and this surely has to be one of them. I so want to do this for someone sometime.

Also, there are so many unfortunate stories that happen in restaurants these days it seems. From servers calling people offensive names on their bills to patrons who refuse to tip for the jerkiest of reasons. But the fact is that while these stories make headlines, most people dine out and have perfectly lovely experiences. Maybe not as lovely as the one this couple had, but still it's not as bad out there as it sometimes seems. In fact, it can be quite amazing.

Has anyone ever anonymously bought you a meal at a restaurant? Have you ever purchased one for someone else?


Image via nlmAdestiny/Flickr

eating out, restaurants


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CAP1015 CAP1015

I have given the clerk at 7-11 $20-$30 and told them to pay for everyone's coffee/soda until it was gone (and not say who gave them the money), and then went out in parking lot to watch the reactions-priceless

Also if I see a van or car with a lot of kids behind me in the drive-thru I pay for their ticket sometimes as well.

I have bought a few people meals in restaurants ( usually veterans or the elderly).  To this day they have never known who paid and the good feelings I get are amazing. 

great article.

miche... micheledo

At the beginning of this year, we were at Menards, and a lady walked up to me a handed me $25! I was shocked, and it was so sweet. We used it to go to a fast food resteraunt another day.

nonmember avatar Greta

The person ahead of me in the drive thru paid for my food one time and damn if that didn't have me near tears it was so nice.

amomm... amommy2jack

I often pay for the car behind me in the drive through and hope it makes the people feel happy for a few minutes to think a stranger would be nice to them.

nonmember avatar Liana W.

Whenever I'm out to eat, if I see police or firefighters there eating, I always thank them for their service to the community, then usually I quietly ask the server to add their bill to mine. Once, 3 police officers came up to our table (me and best friend) and declined our offer, saying they had 7 more officers joining them for dinner and couldn't have us pay. We insisted, even though we knew the bill would be upwards of $80. They were so thankful and humble about it.

cdjak cdjak

I was at a local restaurant very late one night with my (then) teenage daughter. We were waiting at the table to pay the bill when we noticed a guy trying to pay his at the register. His credit card was declined, they would not take a check and he didn't have cash. I called over our waitress and quietly told her to add his bill to mine, tell him it was taken care of but under no circumstances tell him who paid. He looked stunned and searched the faces in the restaurant, trying to figure out who it was. It felt good. I do believe in both paying it forward and random acts of kindness. Someone once paid for my gas when the station would not take my check and I was out of cash one night, after a long shift at the ER. 

Kaymad41 Kaymad41

That is such a sweet story.  We had someone pay for our bill once.  We had just been transferred to Fort Hood Texas.  My husband was going to Iraq and leaving us in a strange, new place,, my 13 year old was depressed because she had to leave all her friends and school behind, we couldn't find a decent house to rent.  We were all pretty depressed to say the least!   It was raining and gloomy when we were eating breakfast at IHOP and someone picked up not only our bill, but all the military eating there.  It really cheered us up.

Candace Jennings

I used to work at Krispy Kreme, and people would come through the drive thru all the time and pay for someone behind them. It's the best feeling in the world to see their faces wen I tell them that their doughnuts had been taken care of. I can't say that I have paid for someone's bill, but wen I worked and someone was short a couple dollars for their doughnuts I would jst give it to them. It's a great feeling wen you can make someone smile, even if it is jst for a minute.

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